I write the stories that appeal to me with characters who beg to have a voice. When I first started writing, I didn’t know my genre, but I’ve since learned that many in the publishing industry call it “upmarket.” Typically, people give me confused but polite stares when I try to explain what it is. Instead, think of it in terms of movies because movies have different genre conventions than books. If my book were a movie, it would be shelved under drama. If you’re an avid book club reader, you probably read upmarket. The reason I chose this genre is simple: it suits my author “voice” and writing style, plus I’m intrigued with the complexities of humans and the realistic but troubling situations we get ourselves into. Upmarket fiction allows me to explore that.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Stagnation. It’s probably the biggest cause of writer’s block. I homeschool my son, so I don’t work outside of the home. Writing is my job, and my family is my life. That’s great! Except, for an introvert like me, it’s easy to become stagnant, and when I do, the writing suffers. I don’t feel like writing, and when I sit in front of a blank screen to force myself, the words don’t come easily. For me, the solution is usually simple. I go for walks, join a local writers’ group, badly choreograph dances, read something new. Once I’m out of my state of funk, I can write.
When and where do you do your writing?
At home on my couch mostly. Sometimes I’ll go upstairs or to my bedroom because of distractions. One place I love to write even though I rarely get the chance is at a quiet coffee shop. I don’t know if it’s simply the change of scenery or if it’s the psychology of putting on clothes and leaving the house to sit at a table, but whatever it is, I’m always able to break through a barrier whenever I write at a coffee shop—as long as it’s not noisy. It helps to know which ones don’t receive much traffic.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
It’s a difficult hill to climb, but it’s easier with the support of others. I have really enjoyed networking with other writers and readers. The community of book lovers is phenomenal. Sure, everyone has different tastes in genres and in what makes a good book, but we come together for the love of stories. In truth, we really aren’t much different from our ancient ancestors. Stories have always united groups of people.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I’m most proud of my latest book. “Cassia” is not only a great story, but it’s a deep look into the world in which we live. Every one of my critique partners, beta readers, and reviewers have gotten something different out of the book, and I love that. I want to entertain people with my stories, but I also want them to peek under the layers and see something that resonates with them personally. With “Cassia,” I believe I’ve accomplished that.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
C.S. Lewis. There are many brilliant writers who suck you in with their fiction, and there are many brilliant writers who can make a non-fiction topic fascinating with clever turns of phrases, but it’s very unusual to find a writer who is equally adept at both. I want to talk to him about his writing—his children’s novels, his adult novels, his short stories, and his non-fiction works. I want to peer inside the mind of one of the most brilliant writers and thinkers of the twentieth century.
I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, TX, and moved all the way over to the next county… so, not very far. In high school, I was a serious and determined student with the goal of becoming a psychologist. However, an artistic desire awakened inside me during my late teens, and I became enamored with artists of all strains, and Deep Ellum became a home for my soul.
After a couple of years, I realized I would have to grow up eventually (actually, my mom realized that for me), so I went to nursing school and once again became a serious and determined student. While in school, I became fascinated with research, and after a few years of working as a floor nurse, I went into nephrology research and loved it!
Because just about everything interests me, I eventually picked up my long-dead hobby of writing, which I’m happy to say is now a budding career. My debut novel, HOUSE OF THISTLES, came out two years ago. I’m very proud of my latest, which takes place in an industrial arts neighborhood.
I’m married with two kids and a step-son, and I home school my youngest.
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